§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to arrange payments of course-related expenses to unemployed people who decide to undertake courses of further or higher education; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
Local education authorities already have discretionary powers to make grants to unemployed people who undertake courses of further or higher education but who do not qualify for a mandatory student award; and they can also remit fees in the case of their own institutions. In addition, under the so-called "21 hours rule", unemployed people can, subject to certain conditions, undertake part-time study for up to 21 hours a week without affecting their entitlement to supplementary benefit.